Vettel commits himself to Red Bull
MOTOR SPORT:Sebastian Vettel has given Red Bull something even more valuable than a double hat-trick of Formula One drivers’ and constructors’ world championships.
The greatest gift of all in this season of giving came long after his sixth place in Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix had confirmed his third title by just three points over Fernando Alonso, after the rain-sodden crowds had departed and he had been ushered into the pantheon of the all-time great racing drivers. It was when he said that he was “extremely committed” to the team until the end of the 2014 season.
His contract with the Milton Keynes-based factory still has two years to run but that has not prevented repeated rumours throughout the season that he would join Ferrari at the end of 2013. On Sunday night, however, there was no equivocation. He said: “I have a contract until the end of ’14. I’m very happy with what we have achieved so far and I don’t think this story is over yet.
“I’m very happy and extremely committed to give everything I have, also in the next years when I’m with them. At the moment, I don’t see any point thinking about another team or something else. I’m extremely happy in the position I am. It’s incredible what we have achieved.”
Although Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal, has always said that Vettel would remain for a further two years, the strength of the speculation threatened to destabilise the relationship between the driver and his employers.
And now the driver must be counted among the greatest to have squeezed themselves into a Formula One cockpit. Just look at the names of the others who have won three titles: Michael Schumacher (seven); Juan Manuel Fangio (five); Alain Prost (four); Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna and now Vettel.
Horner understood Vettel was different back in 2005 when the 18-year-old had just passed his driving test. He flew from Germany to England, hired a car to drive to the team’s headquarters, asked for Horner and then said he wanted a tour of the team’s facilities. He was already one of 16 Red Bull academy drivers but none of the others had shown such initiative.